“Blipping synths, dreamy pads, and gorgeous chord changes guide us down a sonic route so sublimely adorned with ear candy that we can’t help but feel absolutely ethereal when we listen.” – Kick Kick Snare
“melodic indie-pop that’s as warm as it is infectious” – PressPlayOK
“positive-vibed” – Highclouds
Spotify playlists: Young & Free, Indie Pop!, New Indie Mix and more [screenshot]
“I wrote my first song when I was 12 on a keyboard my dad bought me before I even knew how to play any instruments,” says Caroline Kingsbury, one part of the Indie Pop duo Kingsbury. “I was just playing three keys, and I wrote it down on a sticky note.”
Growing up on the East Coast of Florida, Caroline attended international military school until she left for college. “I was around a lot of different types of people and cultures,” she says. At 18, she left the coast behind for Nashville. Though they had yet to meet, Will Hess was having his own cross-country journey, originally beginning in his hometown of Pittsburgh, then Cleveland where he performed as a drummer before eventually landing in Nashville.
Nashville became the place where each found their true musical identity. “When I moved to Nashville I was enchanted with the ‘Nashville Sound’ but quickly realized that it wasn’t quite my thing.”
With a common thread of Belmont University, where Caroline majored in Songwriting and Will is currently finishing up his degree in Audio Engineering with a minor in Computer Science, the two met through Caroline’s solo folk project “The Red Headed Indian” with Will joining on drums.
As Caroline’s first EP released, Will began to find himself dabbling in Engineering and Producing for the first time. During that period, Caroline made the choice to pursue touring opportunities while leaving university life behind.
It was that life altering decision that led her to a turning point of inspiration for her musical path. “The bigger the shows I played, the more I realized I wanted to make music with a pulse that could move people as soon as a song began. I wanted to make music that didn’t make people feel like they had to hang onto every word before feeling connected to the song,” she says.
Though she returned from the road with a decision upon a new solo endeavor, the two began exchanging tracks with more electronic, progressive sounds, creating a sound entirely different than before. The result was an undeniable chemistry. “It was apparent that the sound wouldn’t be possible without both of us officially collaborating.” The pair merged to form the new project Kingsbury, a moniker taken from Caroline’s family name and started writing.
The two began recording in Will’s home studio and at Oceanway Studios with both composing and Caroline singing while Will produced, engineered and mixed. “Everything we do is collaboration,” says Caroline.
“Caroline would come up with the lyrics, melodies and help out on progressions while I would find all the sounds and shape the tracks,” says Will.
The duo’s debut single “Easy” came to fruition while the two were on separate sides of the country through an exchange of messages cross-coast. With Will in San Francisco and Caroline in Nashville, they created a sound inspired by the energy and mood of the West Coast.
The lyrics (composed by Caroline and Will with the help of songwriter Julianna Zachariou read:
“I’ve kissed your lips a thousand times / waded in your body like it was mine / thousands of men, but only your eyes / hundreds of bodies, only your face on em”
“Falling down your waterfalls / we drown the floors and melt the walls / push our own currents, pull our own tides / making life to liquify for us, for us”
The sound formed on “Easy” is a dreamwave of electronic sensuality with indiepop an R&B sensibilities. It’s a sonic light submerged and emitting from the sea, a sound so detached from Music City’s roots that its ties to Nashville become surreal.
“It has been difficult but fun to have something so different than everyone around us,” says Will. “I feel like we are part of the transition from conservative country, singer songwriter and folk into a more diverse music scene.”
“Making music in Nashville and being kind of the antithesis of what goes on here is weird for sure,” says Caroline, “but the longer I’m here I realize that this city is changing very quickly and the floodgates for genre are wide open, and that’s pretty inspiring.”
Kingsbury is the New Nashville Sound that washes away traditional expectations of the city’s artistic presence to showcase the progressive, indietronica-pop phenomenon emerging.